Notre Dame quarterback Jack Coan is fearless, especially after dislocating his finger. All he did after the injury was throw the winning touchdown.
Let’s set up the drama.
With 1 minute, 13 seconds to go, Coan had the Notre Dame offense on the move against Toledo. The Fighting Irish were down 29-24. Then Coan got his throwing hand banged up as a Toledo defender thumped him right after a throw.
A Notre Dame athletic trainer popped Coan’s finger back into place and on the next play, he threw an 18-yard touchdown pass to tight end Michael Mayer for what proved to be the winning score.
Check out the grit showed by Coan on the play. The Fighting Irish won, 32-29.
Now, you’re probably really impressed by Coan’s moxie and pain tolerance. But if you’re a Notre Dame fan, cue the anxiety. Top 10 teams shouldn’t need to come from behind in their home opener when the opponent is from the Mid-American Conference.
The Toledo defense pounded Coan. He was sacked six times. Plus, he threw a pick-six and suffered a fumble. Plus, he split time with true freshman Tyler Buchner.
The victory extended the Notre Dame home winning streak to 25 straight games. The Fighting Irish started the day ranked eighth in the country. Maybe they move up a spot, depending on how pollsters view the Ohio State loss to Oregon.
NBC Used Notre Dame Home Opener To Test Out Peacock Streaming Service
The Notre Dame home opener also was unusual for how fans viewed the game. NBC usually carries all the Fighting Irish home games. However, the network decided to assign the home opener to Peacock, its fledgling streaming service. NBC used Peacock for its early-morning coverage of the Tokyo Olympics, so the network is giving Peacock the heft of some high-profile live sporting events.
Notre Dame also kicked off its season in dramatic fashion. The Fighting Irish blew a big lead on the road at Florida State, but won the game in overtime. The Irish-Seminoles game had a prime-time viewing slot and it drew a big audience.
The game averaged 7.1 million viewers. And it peaked at 8.8 million for the first overtime. It was the second-most-watched Sunday night opener since 1996. The audience saw an increase of 29 percent since the 2019 Sunday college opener featuring Houston and Oklahoma.
Coan put up some terrific numbers for Notre Dame against Florida State. He threw for 366 yards and four touchdowns against the Seminoles.
Uncle of Fighting Irish QB Was First Responder on 9/11
Maybe Coan, on the day we honored the 20th anniversary of 9/11, wanted to be as tough as his uncle. Dan Coan worked for New York Police Department’s Emergency Service Unit on Sept. 11, 2001. He’d been on duty since 4 a.m. when his unit received the first call about an airplane crashing into the North Tower of the World Trade Center. He was near the south tower when it started to fall.
“I specifically remember looking up, seeing the smoke starting to move and hearing the loudest freight train sound I’ve ever heard in my life,” Dan Coan said. “I just remember seeing the tower start to fall … It was like a cartoon where your feet are going but it doesn’t feel like you’re moving anywhere. It was surreal. I take that with me every day.”